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Registration of a startup company

Here, founders learn what they need to know when registering a startup. Depending on the legal form chosen and the planned business venture, companies must be registered with the relevant offices and authorities. When do I need to register with the commercial office? And how can I protect my innovative business idea?

Registration of a startup company
© Mediaserver Hamburg / Christian Brandes

How do I register my startup?

As a general rule, registration of a company takes place in the commercial office. Following the founding of the business, you have to register with the competent professional association. The tax office deals with all tax-related matters, such as tax collection, tax payments and annual tax returns.

Prior to hiring staff and prior to registering with social security and a sickness insurance fund, new enterprises are obliged to apply for a company registration number, which is issued by the Federal Employment Agency.

If your business idea is particularly innovative, you should also ascertain whether it is possible to protect the idea. Applications for technical property rights, such as patents and utility models, should be filed at an early stage. The patent office is in charge of registering such rights. Furthermore you can trademark your design and your brand.

Legal formalities and public administration
Overview of public authorities and formalities important for establishing a business in Germany
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Registration and Entry in the Commercial Register
General information about the registration of a business in Germany
Hamburg Chamber of Commerce

Copyright: Protection of intellectual property
Detailed guidebook on the complex and broad subject of German copyright with an emphasis on modern media
Berufsverband der Rechtsjournalisten e.V. (in german)

Innovation and patents
Initial consultation and services around patents, trademarks, protected design rights, software protection, licensing contracts, innovation funding and current technologies
Hamburg Chamber of Commerce

German patent and trade mark
Information and services by the public institution for industrial property protection in Germany
German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Programme of the European Patent Office for the promotion of trademark applications, which is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. Funding is provided for a preliminary diagnosis of intellectual property rights and a part (50%) of the application fees of trademarks and designs. The funding is capped at 1500€ per trademark application and can be applied for in 5 time windows.

Software & Templates

Sample form for founding a one-man company
The form must be adapted and has to be notarially certified
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (in german)

Sample form for the formation of a company with up to three shareholders
The form must be adapted and has to be notarially certified
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (in german)  

Template to found a BGB company (partnership organised under the Civil Code)
Draft of a contract to set up a BGB company
Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (in german)

Beginner's search for patents, utility models, trademarks and designs
The DPMA register provides the legal publications on patents, trademarks, utility models and designs as well as the register data. It allows searching for the legal status and the publication data
German Patent and Trademark Office


Last accessed: Feb 2024